Cover Image: Are You Enjoying?

Are You Enjoying?

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Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy. I could never get into the short stories here. It’s geared more towards adults, not young adults. The stories started slow and weren’t captivating for me, so I didn’t finish reading.
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I struggled a bit with this book although I had high hopes for it. It's a debut so I don't want to negate the young writer's hard work getting their first book out there. But there are far too many tired cliches about South Asia here. Sadly, the kind we see in not-so-good TV shows. Nuance is flattened when we aim for easy shock value.
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3.5⭐
A forbidden and intense affair between a television star and an American Official amidst tiring career choices and lonliness, a naive female actor's sudden realisation of the exploitation in the film industry, a marriage to mask one's sexuality, a family sucked into the whirlwinds of politics, and a woman abandoned by everyone she ever loved- these stories make up Sethi's debut novel 'Are You Enjoying?'.

Set in modern-day Pakistan, amidst capitalisation, patriatchy, sexism and homophobia, these stories are shrewd and caustic, portraying family dynamics affected by class distiction and extreme emotions.
Sethi lets her female characters share the lime-light, each with their distinctive method to cope up with the above-mentioned issues. With a myriad of problems, come a plethora of solutions-some logical and some, a product of years of conditioning.

Wit and sarcasm find their way into these pages, the dialogues amplifying the current political unrest, the protests and the fight for equality.

A breezy read with multiple facets of society hiding in plain sight, 'Are you listening?' is a totally worth your time.
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Fairly solid collection of seven stories set in Pakistan. I think "A Life of Its Own—Part One" was my favorite of the collection, followed by "Tomboy." Unfortunately, I don't know that any of the stories will stay with me for particularly long, as really good short stories tend to do.
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As most other story collections, this one contains a few duds and a few gems. Some of the stories intersect, but switch perspectives from one person to another so that it's possible to see them as separate. They provide a glimpse into contemporary Pakistan, and while I enjoyed that aspect, the stories themselves didn't quite capture me.
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Are You Enjoying? reads very much like a debut. While I appreciated the themes Mira Sethi explored in these seven stories, the writing definitely detracted from my overall reading experiences. As collections of short stories go this is a rather forgettable and conventional one.

The setting (Pakistan) and ideas behind each story had potential, for example, in the first one, 'Mini Apple', a TV presenter has a 'dalliance' with an American woman, who works at the American embassy. While their dynamic had potential the storyline doesn't do much with it. The second one has very strong #metoo vibes as we follow an aspiring actress who has just landed a good role and catches the attention of the film's tyrannical director. In another story Sethi writes of a young student who finds purpose after he joins an extremist group. Many of these stories examine topical and interesting topics but Sethi's execution left much to be desired. The last story in particular, which happens to be the one this collection is titled after, struck me as being a rather lacklustre and superficial take on a toxic relationship.
Much of the phrases (“if you look closely, most women have restless eyes”) and imagery in these stories was clichéd (“he spat on the ground: a spray of blood soured in the dust”). The dialogue was clunky so much so that it made the characters seem unrealistic. We have a young man who works in the film industry say that after he uploaded a photo of himself without a shirt “lots of 'like' came. Then I was relaxed.” and “So many comments coming on my page”. Something about the way he phrased this didn't really 'flow' (I am aware that others can and will think differently). In another story we get the director characters telling an actress that he “groom” her (surely he would use another word). And then later one we get a story in which a man says the following thing: “Your butt, it's not a Kardashian yoga ball. It's just a cute bubble”....what the feck is that even supposed to mean?
I also abhorred most of the author's descriptions, which struck me as either 'trying' or nonsensical:
“Sex with Asher was liquid, hard, dissolving” , “The gray in Asher's hair became a mischievous afterthought, like a snaggletooth on a beautiful woman” , “my face flushes red, flushes blue” (what is she, an ambulance?) , “her legs were smooth, as if rubbed with light”, “mopping kabab crumbs from his mouth with the coarse pink tissue wrapped around a bottle of Pepsi” (this unnecessary detail detracted from the actual scene), a “whistle” bounces from someone's nose, “a brief dip in her wrist sprang into a mound of arm” (wtf?), and last but not least, “her collarbones were so deep they could rock a baby to sleep” (I assume here the collarbones are actually prominent given that the woman in discussion was skinny....).
Anyhow, just because this didn't work for me does not mean you should not give it a try. I recommend you check out some more positive reviews before making up you mind.
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This book is well written and has good character development I just couldn’t personally get into the stories and found it a little bit of a struggle to keep reading. In the end it does wrap up everything and answers the questions you have, just left a little lacking for me personally. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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An interesting and poignant look into  contemporary Pakistani society. The stories are engaging, and have a sense of depth which makes them more memorable. 

My favorite story is Breezy Blessings, which tells the story of a young, naive girl, trying to make it as a TV actress, who gets a rude awakening.

All in all, a thought provoking collection of stories which makes me want to visit the country and get a taste of a different culture. 

Thank you to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reader’s copy for an honest review.
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A haunting collection of stories that will keep any reader delighted.  Engrossing descriptive relevant are just a few adjectives to describe the myriad of stories within the pages.
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